Three Rules When Exploring New Markets

Zia Daniell Wigder

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the job I do: Every year, I get to explore new markets around the globe and meet people who are equally passionate about building eCommerce businesses.

It's sometimes challenging to try and balance the fact that at Forrester, we are often brought to new places specifically to share our expertise — at the same time, our goal is to learn as much as possible while we're there. Many professionals looking to launch new offerings or pursue new partnerships outside of their own country face similar issues: They aim to both provide insights based on their experiences as well as to absorb knowledge that will help inform corporate strategies.

Having had some great meetings over the years and others where I’ve regretted my approach, I now try to adhere to three rules whenever I start a conversation with executives in a new market:

1. Come with a hypothesis, but prepare for it to evolve. Conversations flow much more easily if you have a framework or hypothesis for what trends you're likely to see in a market — just be ready for holes to be poked in different parts of your theory. In a recent conversation with the CEO of an online retailer in Russia, for example, I indicated that online travel sales often paved the way for retail eCommerce to take off, and asked if the situation was similar there. The CEO explained that in Russia, consumers' reliance on package tours — which are not generally sold online — meant that online travel hadn't flourished to the same degree as it had elsewhere in the world. Finding these exceptions is essential to understanding the nuances of each market. 

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Forrester Needs You - We're Hiring For An eCommerce Technology Analyst

Peter Sheldon

Our clients continue to realize sustained online revenue growth which means many eBusiness leaders have both the funds and backing to continue to invest heavily in commerce technology. Across the board, retailers, consumer brands, and industrial suppliers alike are significantly bolstering their capital investment programs to ensure they stay at the forefront of digital innovation while ensuring that their online, fulfillment, and back-office systems are ready to scale for anticipated growth over the next five years. Subsequently Forrester is hiring for a Principal/Senior Analyst to help us expand our coverage of this incredibly dynamic area. 

Here’s a quick snapshot from the job description:
 

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Canadian Online Retail Shifts up a Gear, eh?

Peter Sheldon
This week Forrester published our inaugural online retail forecast for Canada. While still lagging behind the US market, online sales in Canada show encouraging signs of growth over the next 5 years. In fact, online sales in Canada have grown from C$15.3 billion in 2010 to C$20.6 billion in 2013 and are expected to reach C$33.8 billion by 2018. A few highlights of note from the forecast:
 
  • Online sales now account for 7% of total retail spend. Forrester forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% over the next five years for online sales, however retail total growth (online & offline) in Canada will linger at only 2.8% over the same period. Consequently online sales will account for 10% of total retail spend by 2018, up from 7% today. 
  • Just five categories account for half of the dollars spent online in Canada. Apparel and accessories alone are a C$3.5b plus sector, followed closely by PC;s, consumer electronics, event tickets and groceries. Perhaps this should come as no surprise given these same categories that are also some of the most commonly researched online in Canada. 
  • Average online spend is set to increase 37% by 2018. Today the average Canadian spends C$1,130 a year online which is considerably less than our neighbors in the US (who spend US$1,481), but on the bright side, Forrester forecasts that Canadian online spending will hit $1,552 by 2018. The majority of this growth in online spend will be driven by broader access to products and services that today are only available directly at brick-and-mortar stores or via cross-border delivery from US domiciled retailers.
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E-Trade and Fidelity Are Leaders In Mobile Investing

Bill Doyle

It's still early in the mobile investing game, but with investor expectations rising and substantial business at stake, digital wealth management teams know they must improve their portfolios of mobile sites and apps. To help, Forrester developed the Mobile Wealth Management Functionality Benchmark. Early this year, we published our first scorecard of five global leaders. We found that: 

  • E-Trade and Fidelity lead with strong account information and transactional functionality. Both firms excel in the presentation of portfolio information. E-Trade enables clients to see their portfolios' historical performance charted against major US stock indexes. Fidelity's visual display of balances, holdings, and market summaries is best-in-class. Most firms miss the opportunity to use graphics to let investors visualize their portfolios.
  • Cortal Consors, TD Direct, and Merrill Lynch all exceed minimum standards. Cortal Consors in France and TD Direct support a wider range of products than US firms because European investors often invest beyond their home market. Merrill Lynch, the only full-service firm tested, makes it easy to reach a rep.
  • Opportunities to improve include mobile-optimized websites, research, and ease of use. We believe that most firms will arrive at a mobile strategy that includes websites optimized for delivery through mobile devices. But none of the five firms we reviewed offer mobile-optimized websites. None offer stock screeners or in-depth research reports through their smartphone apps. None offer ease-of-use features like contextual help.
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Tools & Technology For eCommerce Globalization

Zia Daniell Wigder

I’m currently tackling a report on the tools & technology necessary for eCommerce organizations to expand internationally. It is one of the reports for the eCommerce Globalization playbook and aims to put a global lens on some of the research we’ve done on the eCommerce solution provider landscape.  Numerous types of vendors contribute to the globalization process – in this report, we’ll examine only a few key areas including:

Global-Ready Commerce Suites. Pulling from our B2C Commerce Suites Wave last year, we’ll analyze which of the included companies scored particularly well on their globalization capabilities. We’ll also look at the commerce platforms that SMEs tend to gravitate toward around the globe, and identify some of the country-specific solutions that have emerged in different regions.

Global Commerce Service Providers. We will also be discussing which of the companies included in our Global Commerce Service Providers Wave excelled when it came to helping brands with their global market expansion and which ones have the most extensive global footprints.

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Take This 10-Minute Survey To Help Us Understand How You Use Data, Metrics, And Analytics

Peter Wannemacher

************Sorry, the survey is now closed**********

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Forrester is launching new research looking at how firms and companies can better use data and analytics. Please help us make this research better by taking our survey. We want to hear from you whether you use data extensively or not, and your responses will be extremely valuable. Plus you get a free Forrester report (not to mention the warm glow you'll get from helping out). 

In addition, we appreciate any efforts to spread the word: Forward this to anyone who uses - or could use - data as part of their job. 

On behalf of the Forrester team, thank you very much!

What Gets Measured Gets Managed

Andy Hoar

Management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured gets managed.” So whether you’re a B2B company just starting to sell online, or a world-class B2B eCommerce website managing billions of dollars in sales, you need to know which metrics to track and how to benchmark your efforts against your competitors. Your business depends on it.

Last week, Forrester published three reports focused on helping B2B eCommerce professionals measure and benchmark the impact that digital channels have on both their online and offline sales. The reports, new additions to Forrester’s B2B eCommerce playbook, are designed to guide insiders through the process of defining, prioritizing, and optimizing key measures – both for internal purposes and external comparisons.   

  • Measuring The Fundamentals Of B2B eCommerce.  Understand the value that B2B eCommerce metrics can have across all channels and lines of business, and what roadblocks have historically stood in the way of B2B eCommerce professionals’ measurement strategies.  Learn how to define critical B2B eCommerce metrics and align them with your most important B2B business objectives.
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B2B eCommerce Has Arrived

Andy Hoar

Last month, IRCE hosted its first-ever B2B eCommerce content track at its big show in Chicago.   500+ attended my keynote session in the morning...and Grainger’s VP of eCommerce, Paul Miller, saw similar turnout for his presentation later in the day.  All in all, impressive numbers for an inaugural session series.

In 2012, Oracle hosted the lone B2B eCommerce event.  But by my count, 2013 will see at least six exclusively B2B eCommerce shows: IRCE B2B eCommerce track, Oracle B2B Commerce Summit, hybris Gameplan Chicago, hybris Gameplan Berlin, B2B eCommerce Congress, and B2B Multichannel. In short, B2B eCommerce has arrived. 

To that end, I’m happy to report that I’ve published two pieces of research in the last few months that explore how and why B2B companies are delivering high quality eCommerce online (and on mobile devices as well):   

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Why "We Beat Internet Prices" Isn’t the Best Battle Cry

Adam Silverman

I recently received a direct mail piece from one of my favorite retailers with a massive ad in that proclaimed "We Beat Internet Prices." Now, I am a big fan of straightforward and robust value propositions, but these types of brand exclamations are antiquated and add little value to customers, mainly because they simply reward customers for being good bargain hunters. Instead of simply stating you beat your competitor’s prices, employing strategic pricing and customer engagement initiatives creates real distinct value to your customers by:

  • Showing them you can execute on your low price promise and not just talk about it. Employing a holistic pricing strategy meets your customer’s price expectations can indicate to your customers that you are truly ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to offering the lowest price.
  • Building your credibility. Understanding your customers’ needs and offering solutions that facilitate decisions and generate engagement builds credibility. Simply shouting that you match Internet prices does little to build credibility with your customers.
  • Helping them with real problems.  Shoppers don’t need guidance on finding the lowest price -- they need to understand how your brand and solution help them compared to your competition. 
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eCommerce Logistics Players in Emerging Markets

Zia Daniell Wigder

In my post last month about global themes from recent events, I cited logistics as the scariest part of international expansion for eCommerce organizations. Nowhere is this more true than in emerging markets. Only a small percentage of warehousing facilities tend to be modern enough for eCommerce operations and identifying reliable fulfillment providers is a particularly thorny challenge. Horror stories abound:

For North American and European brands, one of the issues is that many of their existing logistics partners are not present in emerging markets – or do not provide the same depth of offerings in these markets – requiring brands to forge new relationships. There are, however, some less traditional types of players that brands are turning to as potential partners in the logistics space. Below are three models that have emerged beyond the typical suite of solution providers and examples of each:

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